Will E-Verify finally pass in Florida?
Bottom Line: There are two issues in Florida that I feel like we’ve been talking about annually for the now sixteen state sessions that I’ve covered. Lake O’, discharges, algae issues and Everglades Restoration and E-Verify. Thankfully, since 2017, we’ve seen meaningful movement on the environmental issues, and I feel like we’ve begun to turn the corner with the reforms passed and ongoing policy decisions being made. E-Verify on the other hand... I’ve lost track of exactly how many proposed bills have been introduced over the years but the answer as to how many of them passed is easy. Zero. E-Verify is liable to be the issue that’s been debated the longest in Florida without any policy changes passing. But there’s a reason it keeps coming up time and again and while history suggests the odds aren’t in favor of E-Verify, the lay of the land has probably never been more favorable for it passing.
First, Governor Ron DeSantis made the case for it in his state-of-the state address. Having the support of the governor is always critical for any legislation to pass, but there’s more to the story than just voicing support in the case of our current governor. 83% of Governor DeSantis’s agenda passed last year in his first year in office. He’s only grown more popular since then. His support for E-Verify comes with extra credibility and an even stronger mandate for his agenda this time around. Additionally, it’s the next natural step for the state to take after passing the “Sanctuary Cities” reforms passed last year. Especially since it has overwhelming support in our state.
Last year Zogby polling, polled the topic of E-Verify in Florida. By a 79% to 13% margin Floridians supported mandating E-Verify. It makes perfect sense. It’s good for Floridians. E-Verify is software system that simply verifies that a prospective employee is eligible for employment in Florida. This accounts for work visas and ensures legal status. As Governor DeSantis indicated, it would discourage illegal immigrants from flocking to Florida while ensuring businesses don’t artificially suppress wages/benefits and underpay taxes. This would almost certainly help benefit Floridians most vulnerable in the workforce currently. So, while the topic of E-Verify might sound like ground hog day... it’s a new day in Florida. One in which the odds for success with E-Verify in this year’s session having never been greater.